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'I hope Tipperary don't anyway, I wouldn't be approving of it if they did'

You won’t find Tipperary’s Seamus Callanan backing the craze of sweepers in hurling.

THE DEPLOYMENT OF sweepers is becoming more prevalent in hurling but one of the leading attackers in the game fervently hopes that his county do not succumb to that defensive mindset.

Seamus Callanan Seamus Callanan (left) was speaking as Elverys launched their #BringTheColour campaign. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

Tipperary’s Seamus Callanan has picked up two Allstar awards in the past two seasons and started off on the 2016 championship circuit in style last Sunday, taking the Cork defence for 0-8.

His scoring exploits against the Rebels were more noteworthy given that Cork utilised William Egan as a sweeper in the game.

Callanan freely admits that hurling is not as ‘enjoyable’ for forwards when facing massed defences but accepts the pragmatism underpinning that approach by some opponents.

“The obvious answer to that is hurling isn’t as enjoyable. Everyone knows that. You don’t need me to tell you that I think.

“It spoils open hurling. We don’t play that way and never will.

“When people take players out of their forward line, I wouldn’t think that’s a positive route anyway.

Seamus Callanan and Damian Cahalane Seamus Callanan races clear of Cork defender Damien Cahalane last Sunday. Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

“I hope Tipperary don’t anyway. I wouldn’t be approving of it if they did. Not that it’s my say or anything.

Any other sort of structure that any other county wants to use, they can use it all they want but it’s none of my interest.

“Some people enjoy it, maybe it’s making some other teams more competitive than if they played  a different brand of hurling.

“Each to their own. It’s not my favourite style. It’s not the style I’d like to play but it is what it is.”


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Tipperary achieved victory last Sunday with a new and fresh forward line. Three players – Sean Curran, Dan McCormack and John McGrath – made their senior championship debuts to demonstrate Tipperary’s recovery from losing four players to retirement last winter.

Dan McCormack and Bill Cooper Dan McCormack (left) is from the Borris-Ileigh club. Source: Ken Sutton/INPHO

“You need to find a few new players every year and lads got their opportunities and they took them.

“It’s refreshing yeah, we lost some great hurlers that had given a lot to Tipperary hurling.

“So it’s just brilliant to just be able to find new players, enthusiastic players coming in and to push on again.”

McGrath in particular stood out on his debut for Tipperary, replicating the form that had seen him win an All-Ireland minor hurling medal with Tipperary in 2012 and a Fitzgibbon Cup medal with UL in 2015.

“John is a fabulous player, you know he’s a very good head on his shoulders,” remarked Callanan.

“He’ll grow into the role and get confidence from every game I suppose.”

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Fintan O'Toole

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